Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Christmas Card Audit 2015


I was going to blog about my post-it stickers, which read ‘claret’, ‘crisp horse beans’ and ‘eels’, but this is much more interesting, isn’t it?  Isn’t it?

Executive Summary:

Note: An audit was not carried out for 2014, for reasons of indolence.  Comparisons are therefore with the 2013 figures.

The most significant trends this year have been:
·         The Animals and Birds count has recovered encouragingly.  Indeed, I have thought it worthwhile to give a full breakdown of this category.  Robins remain consistent at 1.
·         Cute Children have, thankfully, been eliminated.
·         I have retained the category ‘Santas/Reindeer’, although there is only one card depicting a sleigh being pulled by reindeer, and Santa is not visible in this.  Indeed, there are no Santas at all!  What does this mean?  There are, however, several free-range reindeer, which are included in Animals’Birds.
·         Glued-on glitter is everywhere

The full figures (2013’s, where applicable, in brackets):

Snow/Snowmen/Snowflakes:               2 (6)
Santas/Reindeer:                                  1 (4)
Animals/Birds:                                     13 (4)
of which
Robins:                                     1 (1)
Free-range reindeer:                 4
Baby deer:                               3
Horses:                                     1
Dogs:                                       1
Ducks:                                     1
Owls:                                       1
Hedgehogs:                              1         
Landscapes:                                         4 (7)
Boats:                                                  1 (0)*
Nativities/Wise Men/Angels:                6 (4)
Christmas trees/Baubles:                      6 (5)
Comical:                                              2 (1)
Puddings:                                             0 (0)
Cute Children                                      0 (4)
Totally Abstract:                                  3 (0)
*To be fair, an RNLI card.

Special categories:

Homemade/designed:                          4 (4)
Cards with glued-on glitter:                  12 (3)
Ecards:                                                 0 (1)
Wonderfully weird:                             0 (3)


The Card of the Year award this year goes to my niece Georgie for a bauble card constructed from old buttons.  I haven’t illustrated it because it only really works in 3-D. 

Monday, 28 December 2015

Head-, Hands- and Heart-first



They say changing residence, changing relationship and changing occupation are three of the most stressful events one can undertake in one’s life, and should be kept apart, entered into with caution, etcetera etcetera.  We say: how do they know?  Have they tried it?  Where’s the experimental evidence?

So, in the interests of science, 2016 is going to be the year in which I’m going to put this theory to the test by doing all three.  It’s not going to be a very meaningful experiment, mind you, because we already know the outcome and will not permit anything to get in its way.

A Happy and Adventurous New Year to you all.

 

 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The best service I've ever had*

11.30 last night: noticed that the cistern in the downstairs loo was overflowing.  The overflow pipe was leaking, which is how I spotted it.  Took emergency precautions and went to bed.
9.00 a.m.: called Homecare.  They answered after one ring.  Booked an 'all day' callout (i.e. by 6.00 p.m.) for today.
9.05: Matt the plumber phoned.  He'll be with me in 10 minutes.
9.10: Matt rings the doorbell.
9.40: Matt leaves.  Problem fixed.


* Now now, keep it clean...



Sunday, 20 December 2015

Don’t Do Don’t


I was toying with doing one of those reviews of the year, but Facebook has beaten me to it, by selecting pictures I wisely posted there – a moth (or butterfly; there was a heated debate); a snail traversing a hose; a frog; some dead tomatoes; a book; some orioning (that’s too good a typo to correct, innit); a spider's web; did I mention a book?

So instead, as a lesson and a resolution, I’ll just stick with the post title.  To put it another way, ‘do do do’.  (As Frank Sinatra almost said.)

Happy Festives everybody.

Friday, 18 December 2015

The Blog of Proverbs


I dug out my Bible and had a look, and some of them are almost comprehensible, and may even be wise.  I rather liked 26: 16, ‘The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason’, though please don’t ask me to explain why.  (Something to do with Z’s policy of short bursts of efficiency enabling long stretches of laziness, maybe?)

But few if any biblical proverbs, at least from the Book of them, have made it through to everyday usage, so I’m going to deconstruct a couple of non-biblical ones that have.  They have two things in common: in deference to the season, they’re both culinary; and, as metaphors, they’re both crap.

Firstly: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.”  This is used to justify harming, or sometimes killing, other humans in the interests of a greater objective.  In other words, the end justifies the means.  But whereas most of us will agree on what an omelette is, and that it’s a good thing, the argument from the particular to the general never works.  If I said, for example, “You can’t construct smartphones without starving people in China”, I doubt I’d get much support.  (Except from smartphone makers who starve people in China, of course.)  And eggs aren’t human beings.

Secondly: “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”  In other words, “trust me and don’t interfere.” Now broth, or stock as I tend to call it (in Italian, it’s ‘brodo’) is very easy to make, as any cook kno.  You bung your ingredients (e.g. chicken carcass, vegetables, etc.) into a pan, add water, bring to the boil and immediately reduce to a near-simmer, and then leave it alone for hours.  The key to not spoiling it is not to touch it.  It doesn’t matter how many cooks don’t touch the broth.  If they do, then by definition they’re not cooks.

“Too many cooks spoil the omelette”, now that I could go along with.  But it doesn’t work very well as a proverb, does it?  Or as a metaphor.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Velcro



Isn’t it wonderful stuff?  It was invented as a by-product of the early space missions, supposedly, along with non-stick frying pans and computers that sometimes work …  And Principia is without doubt going to yield comparable benefits, in healthcare, metallurgy, nutrition and other areas that will probably slip in through the side door unnoticed and unpredicted, just like Velcro did back then.

And it’s also yielded a rather splendid metaphor.  Each of the two sides of a Velcro connection exists in its own right – they’re different and self-contained.  Yet they are incomplete until they join together and seal the gap.  A bit like two humans.  Z and me, in this case.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Dead giveaway?

Business minister Nick Boles is quoted, in connection with the Spurts Direct sweatshop scandal, as saying "In general, I don't often welcome an investigation by the Guardian newspaper, but ..."


Why not, exactly?

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Words on Words on Words



We were talking, as we seem to, about language.  Zee wondered why hair is singular, though there are lots of them.  This isn’t the case in other languages, like French, where they quite cheerfully say ‘I washed my cheveux’.  If you say that in English, it sounds a bit risqué.  I pointed out that there is a number of these sorts of confusion.

On my way back here through the drizzle and tyre spray, I reflected that I used to wonder whether I was the only one who did that.  Now I know I’m not.  There are at least two of us.  And there is a pair.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Book Wot I Wrote


That’s ‘Dave Anthony’s Moods: This Obscure Group’, just in case you were wondering.  Also just in case you’re still wondering, here’s the back cover blurb:

In the summer of 1965, Dave Anthony’s Moods, an eight-piece band from the musical cauldron of Bournemouth, were confidently poised to take over the world of jazzy, brassy, bluesy, popular music and rule supreme. 

No such luck.  Four years later, they were a backing group for a second-rate Italian pop singer and the band fell painfully apart. Nobody but a few dedicated fans remembers them today.

This is the story of how that fiery ambition arose and how it developed and mutated - and how it descended in fits and starts into final failure. Dam is Tim Large's account of an amazing journey of peaks and troughs, hilarity and boredom, triumph and occasional tragedy, all seen through his inspired, time-distorted prism. He saw it all, from before the beginning until after the very end.

This is his version and he's sticking to it.

Anyway, it’s now written, published and available!  An ideal stocking filler, except that even if you order it today, you’re unlikely to get it for Christmas, for reasons I shall now explain.

It’s available on Amazon (just search for ‘Dave Anthony’s Moods’ and you’ll find it), but they print self-published books to order rather than laying in a stock, so there’s a lead time.  As I write, I’ve no idea exactly how long this is (they say ‘a few days’, but only experience will tell).  So if you do order it from them, you’re a pioneer at this point in time.

Alternatively, you can order from the publisher, YouCaxton, who have done a brilliant job for me.  Here’s the web page they created for me: http://www.youcaxton.co.uk/dave-anthonys-moodstim-large/  I suspect the lead time will be a bit longer than Amazon’s, though.  And the cost is the same.

Finally, I have a small stock myself, which I’m happy in principle to let you into.  It’ll be cheaper, because I don’t have to pay the retailers’ mark-up, but I can’t handle significant mailings, so this is really mainly for local custom.  If you’d like to explore this option further, please do contact me directly.

I’m new to this game, so it’s all experimental at the moment.  Of course, I fully expect it to go viral and the proceeds to enable me to retire – oh, no, I’ve already done that, haven’t I?  Seriously, it’s been a labour of love, and I just want to share it. 

 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Chacun à son


I’d had a mild version of something similar a few weeks ago, and put it down to an unnoticed collision or whatever, so I was a bit surprised to wake up last Monday morning with the area of my big toe, left foot, sending me signals.  Ah well, I thought, it’ll go away.
By Wednesday morning, it hadn’t.  Instead it had developed in size (cherry tomato), colour (ditto) and, of course, pain.  I realised I’d spent much of the night half-consciously finding sleeping positions that avoided any contact with the bedclothes, which had taken on the texture of over-zealous emery paper.  Uh-oh, I thought, and went to NHS Choices in search of something beginning with ‘G’.
Now the good news (to adapt a Bob Monkhouse punchline) is that I’m not a hypochondriac.  So I was ready for what I found.  It seemed that they had snuck unnoticed into my house, taken a hi-res photo of my foot, and published it.  And I could have written the list of symptoms myself.  So I have gout. 
Interestingly, it can apparently be caused, or exacerbated, by over-consumption of beer, fortified wines (including, yes, port) and neat spirits – none of which I indulge in to any extent – but not wine.  It didn’t say how much wine didn’t cause it, though.
It’s gone away now, just like doctor internet said it would.  There’s no point in my going to my GP and saying I think I had gout last week, is there?  They’ll just tell me to come back when it does.  Then there’ll be yet another pill to add to my collection.  Meanwhile I have an old Flanders and Swann number worming away in my ear, to compete with the Rodgers and Hammersteins left over from yesterday evening.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Silence


Frances, in her heartfelt post here, alludes to an essay she was made to write on this topic.  I doubt it was preserved, so I’m taking the liberty of writing my own version.
For a start, whoever said it was ‘golden’ (The Tremoloes, was it?) needs to be sent back to school for an English lesson.  Or what was called, when I did O levels, ‘Use of English’.  (Now there’s a subject ripe for revival, Ms Morgan, are you listening?)  If you had to come up with an adjective to qualify silence, is that really the best available? 
Of course, it wasn’t ever meant to be descriptive, was it?  It was designed as a control mechanism.  Children would have been processed into believing that gold equates to reward, therefore be silent and you might be rewarded – probably by not being punished. 
Next: there’s no such thing.  (I mean no disrespect to profoundly deaf people in saying this – some of you are musicians, aren’t you?)  Try and find it; I might have done so about twice in my life, and it shocked me, until I realised that there was a lot of noise still going on: my heart, my breath, even my bloodstream.
Third and last: it’s sometimes used as a verb.  To silence.  If I were into control mechanisms, this would be near the top of my toolkit.  As I’m not, it’s near the top of my ‘misuse of English’ kit.
If it has a colour, it’s black.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Tim is all over the place


I’m in the business of filling in time, which is not the same as wasting it.  I never waste the stuff, whatever appearances may suggest: there’s always an outcome of some kind, however inconsequential or trivial it might appear to uninformed outside observers.  For example, writing that last sentence filled in several minutes, which obviously weren’t wasted, otherwise I’d have deleted it, wouldn’t I?

So it was that this evening I found myself browsing through some old notebooks.  This was very interesting.  I discovered, for example, that in 1983 I went through a demented phase of serving up Chinese banquets: to whom, or why, I have no idea.  Here’s the list of ingredients for one such (provide your own punctuation* if you will):

Walnuts sesame seeds star anise mooli yellow bean sauce squid red pepper mangetout oyster sauce dry sherry mushrooms water chestnuts spring onions (lots!) beef chicken breast aubergine watercress pork eggs lapsang tea

I also, some years earlier, apparently became briefly obsessed with reading the Chambers Dictionary, from which I noted several definitions that amused or intrigued me.  Here’s just one:

Musique Concrète: a kind of mid-20 C music, made up of odds and ends of recorded sound variously handled.

Well, that was fun!  And the plumber’s coming in the morning to fit my new taps.  Isn’t life joyous?


*My fingers typed ‘punchuation, which I rather like.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

There's no answer to that

A neighbour was holding forth about the need to support local shops and businesses.  I observed that she actually had her main weekly shop delivered to her by Ocada.


"Well," she replied.  "I don't even leave the house.  You can't get more local than that, can you?"

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Unmakeupable

Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG, which owns, amongst others, British Airways, has opined that the best way to fund the third Heathrow runway is to introduce toll roads around  the airport, because otherwise it'd be unaffordable.  'There is no point in having infrastructure if people won't use it because it's too expensive,' he is quoted as saying.  Walsh doesn't specify which roads, but it must be the M4 and the M25, because there aren't any others.  Clearly, this will encourage rush-hour commuters to get value for money by catching aeroplanes instead, won't it?
I imagine, however, that Mr Walsh simultaneously subscribes to the published Airports Commission declaration that this runway will bring some £211 billion of benefits to the British economy by 2050, although it isn't stated with any precision where this bounty will come from.*
Like I said...


* Not, presumably, Sharm el-Sheikh, at least for now.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Paris


The first time I visited Paris was in the late summer of 1963.  I’d just finished at University, and was at a loose end, so when my friend Brian invited me to join him and his parents on a three week camping  holiday in Europe, I jumped at it.  I had just inherited £200 from an aunt: what better way to invest it?  We took it in turns to drive fairly directly as far as Sorrento, and then meandered back northwards.  I can’t honestly remember the details (I vaguely recall visiting the casino in Monte Carlo), but I do know that we had planned in a two day stopover in Paris.  We camped in the Bois de Boulogne.  The idea was, obviously, to catch the sights, but that didn’t happen.  Brian and I spent the entire two days in the Louvre.

My second time was in about 1992, for a business meeting.  I flew over in the morning, had a very long lunch at which our French hosts insisted on serving roast lamb with mint sauce (very good at diplomatic manoeuvring, the French), possibly conducted a bit of business for an hour or two in the afternoon, and missed my flight home.

The last time I went to Paris, about twelve years ago, it was the full four day tourist circuit.  We walked and Metro’d for hours, ate andouillettes and fruits de mer and I forget what else, oh yes, a marvellous pizza; and, please, don’t believe that canard about the Parisians being unfriendly.  Rude, yes, but unfriendly?  Not in my extensive experience.  I loved it, and them.

Did I say ‘the last time’?  No way.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

MAD


Am I alone in thinking? 
Jezza has got into trouble for saying that he’d never ‘press the button’.  Well, of course, it’s not his to press anyway – he couldn’t do it without the say-so of America – but leave that aside.  My question is: who would?  I think they are obliged to stand up and fly their mad flag. 
(Of course, not having the damn things in the first place, putting ourselves on a level footing with, say, Germany or Sweden or Australia, would help with any moral dilemma that deluded people like  General Sir Nicholas Houghton might believe to exist.  But leave that aside too.)
Corbyn may be saying that he would, if in control, refuse to retaliate.  Quite reasonable, I'd have thought.  Pressing it second isn’t really an issue, because the Destruction part of M.A.D. has already been achieved, so it becomes a bit academic.   “They killed us, but we killed them too, so we’re quits, and everything’s hunky dory, no harm done” isn’t a position I can imagine any political leader, even the maddest, taking.  And it would be particularly academic for most of us, because we’d be dead.
The plain truth is that the only real moral dilemma is: would you press it first?  So if Mr Corbyn is stating that he would never, under any circumstances, be the first button-presser, then I’d be surprised to find any of our leaders, current or aspirant, disagreeing.   So can they please just say so?  It’s time somebody broke this MAD vicious circle.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Cutaway lugs


A chance encounter with a Claud Butler bike has untapped a torrent of memories.


I learned to ride a bike when I was about nine (which was rather late for me).  I have no memory of the bike on which this took place, but I do remember the process.  My father insistently taught me, and I doggedly refused to be taught, until one day when I was on my own I got onto the thing, in the back garden, and taught myself.  After that there was no stopping me.

For my twelfth birthday I was given a proper bike, or at least my parents’ notion of proper.  (They were overprotective of me, I now know.)  There was some subterfuge involving, I think, a cricket bat, which somehow couldn’t be unwrapped until I’d been taken down to the garden shed under some pretext, there to be unveiled this gorgeous Raleigh, in a colour I’d now call magenta but then saw as very displayable red.

It wasn’t, of course, my dreambike.  That would have entailed full drop bars, alloy rims, 10-speed Derailleur gears, many other features I can’t remember:  all mounted on a Claud Butler racing frame with, crucially, cutaway lugs.  These latter were supposedly designed to reduce weight, which was ridiculous – they were an early manifestation of teenage designer bling, and hence heavenly.

I didn’t have any of that.  My bike had semi-drops, chrome-plated  rims which rusted if not oiled weekly, a sprung saddle, three-speed Sturmey-Archer, old lady mudguards and, most dreadfully, a chain guard, in matching colour trim!  But it was still near the top of the local game, and I loved it.

Customisation rapidly followed, of course.  The chain guard was the first to go.  I can’t remember the other tweaks I snuck in behind my parents’ backs.  I do remember the parentally approved water bottles, and can still taste an aluminium-tinged warm sip through a plastic straw.  We discussed the feasibility of taking a hacksaw to those clunky lugs to make them look like cutaways; even, I think, drawing fantasy designs. 

It was never going to be the racing bike I craved.  But I can remember, quite vividly, the short and long expeditions it carried me on.  That was my first taste of real freedom, granted me, intentionally or not, I’ll never know, by my parents. 

I’ve no idea what happened to the bike.  

 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Gentleman? Moi?


Country Life magazine has published a list of 39 characteristics which define a modern gentleman.  I’ve always wondered whether or not I'm one of those , so I printed it off and scored myself, using a three-way marking system – Yes’, ‘No', and ‘?’ (don’t know/ sometimes/ not applicable/can’t remember/not saying).
Here are my self-scores:
Yes: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8-10, 14-17, 21, 23-26, 28-30, 32-33, 36-38
No: 3, 18, 20, 22, 31, 34
?: 5, 7, 11, 12, 13, 19, 27, 35, 37
I left out 39, because it’s meaningless.
There are, of course, some qualifications, which you can have hours of harmless fun matching to the answers:
  • Except Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
  • I did once train a dog, not very well.  One’s gardener trains the roses, surely?
  • Tweed suit?  Only worn by cads, surely?
  • Nobody has yet died from eating one of my omelettes, as far as I know.
  • What, pray, is the distinction between an emoji, an emoticon and a sticker?  Insufficient information.
  • Rooks exist only in the plural, crows in the singular.  Or the other way round, I can never remember.
  • What does a gentleman wear on his feet in Puerto Rico then?  Oh, no, sorry…
  • I tend not to wear flowers, it’s not 1967 you know.

 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Constitutional Crisis? Bring it on!


I had a fantasy, many years ago, that I’d switch on the telly at six o’clock, the credits would roll, and Reginald Bosanquet would announce “Good evening, here is the News at Six.  There isn’t any.  Nothing of any importance has happened today.  Good evening.*”  And then we’d get a rerun of an old episode of The Good Life** instead.
I wish the same thing would happen to politics occasionally, or even frequently.  Politicians, quite naturally, see it as their role to change things.  After all, if nothing needed to be changed, they’d be out of a job: and the prime purpose of being a politician, as for any job, is to stay in it.
I’m not suggesting that there aren’t things that need changing – I could offer up quite a little list of legislation that could usefully be created or, even better, destroyed – but every so often, we could do with a rest.  I don’t know about you, but I struggle to keep up with what is or isn’t legal as it is, without a dozen or so new laws coming along every week. 
So I rather hope that the House of Lords will have another crack.  The politicians can then usefully get themselves bogged down in the aforementioned constitutional crisis, shrinking their already wilting bubble in on itself, while the rest of us can just get on with real life for a while.

 

*Come to think of it, Reggie may well have done that once, given his track record, but if so I missed it

** Preferably the one where Barbara forgets to put her bra on, but …

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Blue Car Moves


It’s a Citroen Xsara, quite elderly, with threadbare tyres and a scrape or two down the offside.  It had been parked nearly opposite my drive since May.  It usually didn’t cause me any actual inconvenience – I could reverse round it without having to make more than three points, even in the worst sloppy-parking configurations, of which there are many out there – but it irritated me.
So I checked it on the DVLA.  It was taxed to next April, but had no MoT.  So a few weeks ago I shopped it to the council.  Last week, an abandoned vehicle sticker was attached to the windscreen.  Ah, progress, I thought.  And sure enough, today progress has been made, though not quite the sort I’d anticipated.
I’d been down to pick up a prescription, and was passing the end of the Close when a voice hailed me.  I couldn’t make out the words, if there were any, but I saw the blue car stuck diagonally across the road.  A burly, bald man with a grey ponytail was waving madly at me.  He looked angry.  Normally, in such situations I avoid eye contact and hurry on, but this was personal.
This man was apoplectic.  By means of body language and smiley gestures, I managed to persuade him that his immediate predicament – car stuck across the road – wasn’t my personal fault, whereupon he gradually dissolved into tearful contrition.  He’d been in a bad place (I didn’t ask where), desperately wanted to save his car from getting towed away, was trying to move it until the spare part he needed arrived from Plymouth or somewhere, had got stuck, could I give him a push please?
Well, I didn’t believe a word of it, but what would you do?  I put my shoulder to it and together we manoeuvred the rusty old wreck into a less obtrusive location.  This took some of my managerial skills, especially when it transpired that the concepts of left and right lock were novel to him.  But we managed it.  He was embarrassingly grateful, and I had to tear myself away.  As I left, I heard him mutter something like:
“It was that cow down the end what reported it, wasn’t it?”
I thought it best not to correct him on this point.
If it’s still there this time next week, I’m going to report it as dumped.  Again.

 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

I'm really stupid!

Either that or someone else is.


I've just started using my iPhone as a camera.  I have a bunch of photos on there that I'd like to transfer to my computer, for obvious reasons. 


Can I work out how to do this?  No I can't.  Can anyone help?

Friday, 23 October 2015

Very flat? Not really.


Noel Coward was talking about Norfolk, of course, and I ended up spending most of my out-and-about time in Suffolk, which may or may not be more flat or less flat than Norfolk, I haven’t had time to do a full comparative cartographic survey, besides not possessing sufficiently detailed OS maps to build the necessary Plasticine relief models of the contours, nor the Plasticine …  Let’s just call it a draw then.

One thing I can say with confidence, though, is that the bit of Norfolk in which I was based is anything but flat – in the lemonade sense, that is.  Distinctly fizzy.  This is Z’s home, to which she had generously invited me for a few days, to help me scout out potential destinations should I eventually act on my long-standing inclination towards shifting myself elsewhere.

Chez Z, flat moments don’t prevail, or even arise.  Some of you will have been there and so already know this, but there’s nothing like a few days to bring out the details.  Without going into the details, we’re talking cats, chickens, tortoises, spiders, cats, cockerels, did I mention cats…?  Not to mention, of course, Z’s own delightful company – thank you, darling!

Under her guidance, I visited quite a few possible targets for if I do eventually boot myself up and home in on East Anglia.  In fact, I’d be spoilt for choice; every single town has its own plethora of delights and attractions.  (Well, I am comparing them to Reading, to be fair.)  It may be just proximity, and therefore greater familiarity, but Yagnub seemed to tick a lot of boxes.  




(Though this exhibit in a charity shop window did give me a moment’s pause for thought.)





Still, one thing there’s no shortage of in Norfolk, or Suffolk, is horizons. 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Caravan end of term, yet again

I've been down to lovely Pembrokeshire, to my lovely caravan at lovely Wiseman's Bridge, my lovely childhood memory site, quite a few times this year.  Every time, whatever the reason or excuse for the visit, I think 'why do I keep coming back here?'  I have no idea.  Logic, common sense and economic calculation all say 'why bother?'  Yet, every time I drive down the hill, past the pub, along the seafront, up the other hill and round between the two white houses and up, again, to the Lower Field, and across the grass to the caravan, it still feels like a homecoming.

I've sometimes talked about the quiet stillness (although that neglects one of Pembrokeshire's major industries, which is strimming), the views of the sea and the headland, the chums who will gladly share a jar and a gossip, even the rabbits and the pheasants and the wagtails - but that's not it.  I was chatting to a friend to whom I'd lent the caravan for a week back in August, and he talked mostly about his five year old daughter - her delight in discovering rockpools, shrimps, seaweed, low tide corrugated sand - and I suppose that's it.  I keep going back to my childhood.

Here's a picture of the caravan.


And the view.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

I dreamt this

"Don't forget or remember too much."


I think I was channelling Samuel Beckett, or vice versa.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Compost for brains


Monday morning, eight fifteen.  As usual, I leave the house to stroll down to the paper shop.  As soon as I open the door, I notice something very strange.  For about twelve years, I’ve had two stone (well, cast concrete actually) planters outside the door, one on each side.  Originally they contained dwarf holly trees, but those died and were replaced a couple of years ago with standard box.  I never liked them all that much, to be honest, but I’d rather they hadn’t been stolen.

It’s quite extraordinary, isn’t it?  Someone has taken the trouble to steal into my garden, presumably in the wee small hours, and silently spirit away these seriously heavy chunks of slightly kitschy garden décor – to what end?  The whole lot can’t have come to more than £200 at cost, and they’re not going to get more than half of that, even if they manage to find a buyer.  It must have taken two, possibly three, strong sub-humans to do the carrying, plus a vehicle and a look-out, and would have taken probably twenty or thirty  minutes.  That’s a top end, high risk return of about thirty quid each, less expenses.  Doesn’t sound like a good earner to me.

I’m not going to replace them, of course.  Or rather, perhaps I will, with a couple of really cheap, naff plastic items from B&Q, artificial shrubs, and leave a note underneath saying ‘Thank you so much for relieving me of that crap; could you please take some of the rubbish plants in the garden too?’  But that’d be a waste of an ironic semi-colon, wouldn’t it?

 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Triumph or Disaster?





I'm not sure what this little ivy plant is hoping for, but there's a metaphor in there somewhere.

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Lodger



No, not the 1927 Hitchcock film (which I haven’t seen), or the many remakes (one of which I think I might have seen), nor even the original novel by, it says on t’internet, Mrs. Belloc Lowndes (which I’d guess nobody alive today has read).  No, this is the real thing.

My friend called me last week in desperation.  Could I put up her son for a while?  He’d been thrown out on the street at zero notice, and had nowhere, but nowhere, to stay.  I’m obviously not going into the background to how this came about, except to say that it was the fault of a very nasty person.

I’m almost ashamed to say that I hummed and hawed for a good five minutes before replying ‘yes, of course.’  There had to be negotiations about timescales, because my existing commitments meant there was a three day gap which he would have to fill in as best he could (which he managed); but I ended up welcoming him (on a strictly time-limited basis, three weeks-ish) last Tuesday.

Well, it’s working out quite well!  It’s early days, but we’ve laid down some ground rules, which are evolving and will be conformed to: the main one being that I’m In Charge around here.  Fortunately, we get on pretty well, and he’s a nice, sensible man who is, if anything, over-solicitous.  Let’s see how it goes.  I’ve made it clear that I need to know that he’s actively seeking alternatives, and I’m sure that’s happening.

He’s just got back from the pub as I write…!  He has a cold, apparently, so I’ve told him not to get too close…!   

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Aargh! They're back!


The dreaded harlequins!

But this time I'm ready for them...


Monday, 28 September 2015

Switch it off and on again


Or ‘switch it on and off again’, as my colleague Neil used to say – but he was Australian, so fair dinkum.*

As befits people who, over time, have communicated more by computer than by those old-fashioned vocal cords, Z and I spent a bit of time (not much, I hasten to add) discussing computers.  In particular, how scared some folks, especially neophytes, can be of the things, perhaps naturally assuming that if they do something wrong, they’ll break it.  She came up with a good analogy – if you stall your car, all you need to do is restart the engine, the car’s not broken.  I followed through by comparing, say, reformatting the hard disk with crashing the car into a brick wall; which, on reflection, I don’t think was exact – the computer is still doing exactly what it’s told, isn’t it?  Taking a box cutter to the motherboard would be a closer equivalent to the brick wall.

 Anyway, Z’s visit here naturally gave rise to a veritable tsunami of Facebook feedback, as such momentous occurrences always do.  (Well, at least a dozen comments, which is high-end by my usual standards.)  I got some email notifications, so I logged on to see them.  Or rather, tried to – because of course, as you know Facebook had chosen this moment to crash, properly.  (Z and I take no credit or blame for this, incidentally.)

Now the analogies, erm, break down at this point.  I can restart my computer, but I can’t restart Facebook.  To stretch it to snapping point, even the best car in the world will fail to function if it runs out of petrol, or someone else puts diesel in by mistake.

In other words, we are actually at the mercy of powers beyond our control.  Still, I expect they’ll apologise eventually.  Whether they’ll offer the advertisers a refund is an entirely different matter.

*I think I’ve mentioned this in a post before, but the old ones are the best ones, aren’t they?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Five Things


Which should probably be tweets, except that I’ve taken against twitter.


  1. If VW have invented a device which reduces emissions from the exhaust pipe, why don’t they just leave it switched on all the time?
  2. Why can’t I ever get past page 100 of War and Peace?  It’s not for lack of time or good intentions.
  3. After a court ruling in the US, you no longer need to pay composer royalties when you sing Happy Birthday to someone.  I’m assuming this is back-dated.
  4. Apparently, fidgeting whilst sitting around can prolong your life.  I am immortal!
  5. Am I alone in commiserating with the [alleged] pig?  Though it was probably grateful to be dead.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Time for a joke?

I haven’t done one of these for yonks, so here’s a golden oldie you’ve almost certainly heard:

A man is stranded on a desert island.  After a few days, when he’s starting to feel a bit lonely, one morning he sees a beautiful girl emerging from the sea in a skin-tight wetsuit.

The girl says:
“Fancy a drink?”

Speechless, he nods, and she unzips her suit a bit and produces a bottle of malt whisky.  They each take a swig, then she unzips a bit more and says:
“How about a nice cigar?”

Out comes a superb Cuban Corona.  He lights it from his campfire and takes a delicious puff.
Finally the girl unzips the wetsuit yet further, smiles and asks:
“You want to play around?”

The man can’t believe his luck.
“You mean – you’ve got a set of golf clubs in there?”

Boom Boom

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Sufficiency of Suffices




Think what you like about Mr Corbyn (and you should, that’s the whole point), his magnetism in attracting the suffix has to be respected.  In a few short weeks he’s acquired a -mania, an -ism, -ites and -istas, and even some -omics.  Not even Mrs Thatcher managed that.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Mason & Dixon, and other stories


This lot needs sorting out.



There’s more:



And that’s not counting the three or four boxes of discards already waiting to be shipped to the charity book bank.  Clearly, I need to set aside an afternoon or three, if I can find them.   Critical mass will be reached some time soon, the tipping point being when I can no longer get through the front bedroom to the ironing board.  That becomes pressing (aargh!) when I need a fresh shirt – not quite at either of those points yet, but the nights are drawing in…

So, pro tem, I’ve disciplined myself to rereading.  I started with ‘Howard’s End’ a couple of weeks ago, and reflected on how Graham Greene found it necessary to divide his output between ‘novels’ and ‘entertainments’, whereas Forster could effortlessly blend the two into a single seamless whole.  So I read a couple of Greenes, one of each sort, and was left unsure as to which approach was the better… 

Getting a bit unstimulated, a week or so ago my eye was caught by Thomas Pynchon’s Masterpiece.  It tells the story of the two Surveyors, or Astronomers (they constantly bicker over this amongst many other sundry Controversies), who in the mid-eighteenth century ran what was ever-after called ‘the Mason-Dixon Line’ ‘twixt Pennsylvania and Maryland, a Line to become in History the Fount of countless Politickal and Bellicose wranglings…

I’m sorry, I seem to have slipped into the author’s bizarre cod-Georgian idiom (and even found myself, the other day, writing a blog comment in a version of Jeremiah Dixon’s bluff Geordie-an idiolect, eeh!): it’s not a straightforward read, as anyone who’s ever tried Pynchon will confirm.  But I know few books that draw you so deeply into their mad world.  If you imagine a linear yarn – well, you’ll get that, but be prepared for diversions into sea-battles between an under-manned frigate and a fearsome French man’o’war (complete with a deckhand who alone can unravel some fine points of frigate-rigging, called Pat O’Brian); the flesh- and booze-pots of Philadelphia; contemporary American and trans-Atlantick (there I go again!) politicks and Theology; and a wholly novel slant on How The West Was Won (or Lost), and similar Systematickally Irrelevant digressions into areas I don’t even want to think too much about, because my dreams are already over-packed with that kind of stuff…

There are also: a petulant, erudite Talking Dog, called the Learnèd English Dog, whose main role, in Chapter 1, is to enable the phrase ‘The L.E.D. blinks’; a partially invisible Mechanical Duck; the invention or discovery of Surf Music; the art of witch-flying, without benefit of Broomstick, to prove that the Territory is not the Map; and much much more such absurd digressions into worlds, planets and Galaxies of Phantasie, lit by a flickering, unreliable Lanthorne…


And I haven’t even reached the end yet!  150 pages (out of 773) to go.  But I know how it finishes – they reach the end of the Line, in ev’ry sense.

Friday, 11 September 2015

The Devil’s Interval



I’ve been scratching around for something to blog about, anything really, just to keep my hand and brain and vocabulary and syntax in – but there’s so much  stuff going on that precludes anything other than an emotional response, which is something I’m possibly too good at experiencing but not at all good at expressing.  So instead I switched on the telly, and found the Penultimate Night of the Proms, dedicated to the musicals of Leonard Bernstein.

To be honest, I’m not that familiar with most of his stuff, and nothing I heard over the two-plus hours did much to persuade me to explore further – with, of course, one shining exception.  Which, of course, I don’t need to explore further, because every last note of it has been etched into my being ever since 1956.

It is the greatest musical there will ever be.  And for me, somehow, it bridges the two dominant aspects of my psyche: the emotion and the logic.  (The child and the parent, in psychoanalytical terms.)  I know exactly how it moves me, and I know exactly why.  Let me peek into the second of these.

It’s very simple, actually.  The whole thing is built around a musical trope called the Tritone.  Technically, it’s a flattened fifth.  If the fifth note of the C major scale is G (which it is), flatten it and you get G flat (or an augmented fourth, F sharp, depending on the way your instrument is tempered… sorry, maybe a bit too technical there).  To hear this, you only need to listen to the first three notes of ‘West Side Story’ – “Da-daaah DA!”  That third note is the tritone.  Then listen to any of the ballet sequences – there it is again, all over the place.  And ‘Maria’: what’s the second note of that tune, exactly?

It was called The Devil’s Interval in medieval times, largely because – well, it is, isn’t it?  You can learn much more about the psychology and physiology of this here, if you really want to.

So there you have it.  ‘West Side Story’ bit me, chewed me up and spat me out when I first heard it, and still does.  But more importantly, it taught me that music, as all art, doesn’t drop from heaven or rise from hell – it’s made by human beings, who can use their feelings and their rationality to mould heaven and hell’s best efforts into forms of beauty neither of those imposters can imagine.

 

 

Monday, 7 September 2015

Buzzy Caravan Visit


As I’ve said so often, always something different!  This time, insects.  Two earwigs had managed to find their way into the earwig-wide space between the glass splashback behind the bob, and the wall.  This splashback is secured by two pozidriv screws, which I had to loosen in order to insert a knife and entice them out.  I wish I could say I rescued them, rehabilitated them, and released them into the wild, but actually I squashed them with a bit of kitchen towel.
Be thankful that I’d forgotten to take the camera.
Then a bumblebee with a body as big as a Luques olive (I know this, I had a bowl of said olives on the table at the time) came in through the window right next to my head, just as I was settling down to a G&T and the early evening news.  I thought: do nothing.  Sure enough, it buzzed around the room for a bit, decided the news was too distressing (as had I), and exited the same way it had entered. Mutual relief there, I reckon.
And just before going to bed (this was all on Saturday evening) I killed three mosquitoes with three swipes of the swatter!  Fly-swatting is probably the closest I’ll get now to a racquet sport, since I gave up table tennis at the age of seventeen.
That’s about it.  Oh, except for the latest ‘THINK!’ sign on the Reading traffic information boards on my way back today:  “THINK!  TAKE MORE TIME TO LOOK FOR BIKES!”  Try as I may, I can’t make this mean anything.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Cliveden


[The latest in my very occasional series about Stately Homes – click the label for the other three.]

Keen to get out of Reading on a dank festival weekend, we settled on this ‘stately home’, even though we knew in advance that, nowadays, it’s no such thing.  It’s a self-styled luxury hotel, owned by the National Trust under a perpetual bequest but leased, at the moment, to an outfit called ‘London and Regional Properties’, a company name which probably tells you all you need to know about them.  It was a nice afternoon out, and the rain held off, so I’m happy for the festival-goers at Rivermead.

But I can’t pretend to be much impressed by Cliveden.  I don’t blame the NT for milking it as an earner, because the raw material, frankly, isn’t that special.  In fact rather than on the actual fabric (the first house here was built in 1666, but this one dates back all the way to just 1851, and has been hacked about beyond recognition since then), it trades almost entirely on its back-story.  Dukes and Earls (Buckingham, Orkney – how did Orkney get its own Duke, you have to wonder? – Sutherland, Westminster, plus a Prince of Wales called Fred); a go-to venue for inter-war high life under the attractively monied patronage of Waldorf and Nancy Astor (Shaw, Chaplin, Churchill, Joe Kennedy, Kipling; all the usual suspects hung out there); and of course, in the early sixties, it was one of the settings for some genuine scandal, as opposed to the ersatz 1920s sort.  (There are a couple of exquisite line drawings of Christine and, I think, Mandy – we were allowed only a fleeting glimpse during the grudgingly granted ‘house tour’ – in a corridor in the old servants’ quarters, by Stephen Ward, the true victim of that particular contamination.)

As I said, I can’t pretend to be impressed.  This place is, basically, a fake.  Worse, it’s a weighted compromise.  It’s the perfect exemplar of how, when you cross charitable good intentions with professional corporatism, the latter will win out to the detriment of the former, every time.

The best bits were the lovely, tiny chapel with its beautifully crafted biblical mosaics from the 1890s; the walk from there, down about 450 steps, through woodland to the river, and more importantly back up again (because it proved I could do it (just)); and the subsequent life-saving cream tea in the Orangery café.


Friday, 28 August 2015

Bit of a ramble this evening...

Just finished watching 'The Story of Swing' prom, live from the Albert Hall.  Over recent weeks I've wallowed in the Sinatra series 'All or Nothing At All' (hence part of that peculiar semi-dream I reported the other day).  My favourite album of the past year has been the Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga one.  And the other evening I found myself listening with pleasure to Nat King Cole.  Am I turning into one of my parents?  (Unlikely, neither of them cared that much for music, did they?)  No, I just think I'm going back.


In other news: Alan has a new knee.  I went across to see him this morning.  He did know it was coming, but was obviously in a bit of denial about the aftermath.  He's one of the most active people I know, and being confined to a chair, regular procedures, and crutches obviously doesn't sit well with him.  I hope I cheered him up a bit, I think so.  He was obviously delighted to hear the 'one step at a time, mate' line yet again.
One strange thing is that apparently the BMC and NIHCE mandate that, after an operation of this sort, anti-coagulants must be administered for a fortnight.  This is to minimise the risk of thrombosis; but of course it also means that the wound heals less quickly, which in turn means that he can't get on with the essential physio exercises.  I know nothing, obviously, but I can't help wondering whether 'one size fits all' dictats of this sort are terribly helpful.  His consultant is being circumspect to say the least, obviously thinking that the 'rule' is nonsense but a bit scared of advising a breach of it in case it rebounds.  Alan thought he'd seen a wink, and has stopped taking them; it's stopped bleeding and he's started the exercises.  So far so good.


In other (political) news:
On 'Any Questions' tonight, Priti Patel said " We won the election.  We are in Government.  And we're getting on with the job of running the country."  Only one of these three statements is true: see if you can spot which one?
And how does this work?  [I paraphrase the thoughts of a financial trader]:  "The markets are in meltdown, the world economy is going to crash.  What shall we do?  I know, let's do everything we can to ensure that this actually does happen."

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Self-inflicted Earworms, and other dreams


Aren’t dreams interesting?
At 4.15 a.m. I was wakened by a dream (Ginger Baker, who has had his head shaved and entrusted me with the tresses, is escorting me to a nightclub, which turns out to be a muddy pig farm with a hummock in the middle, where I lose my shoes, but then this Korean girl comes along and starts to – ) which I’ll tell you all about some other time.
So it’s 4.15 in the morning, and Frank Sinatra’s ‘I Thought About You’ from ‘Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!’ is playing in my head, complete with Nelson Riddle’s arrangement and Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison’s muted trumpet obligatos, and much as I love this record, at this point in time I need to delete it.  So I try all my usual insomnia tricks – the yogic toe-to-scalp muscle-by muscle relaxation, the step-by-step walk to my primary school, the attempt to list alphabetically all the girls I’ve known in my life, from A to Z (I usually skip over Q and X, and I and U) – but what happens is that the music in my inner ears segues into entirely invented orchestral clichés, which swerve between Basie and Victor Sylvester, through chord changes I can almost hear but never pursue and I decide to just let it play itself out… 
Whereupon, of course, I shut down into a dreamless sleep, until the six-fifteen goods train rumbles past and rattles the windows.
Having read ‘The Child’s Garden of Psychoanalysis’, I can interpret most of the above, except: why was she Korean?

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Barbecue surprise


We had our annual local Community Barbie today, in the local Community Garden at the bottom of the road, which is a delightful local asset tucked unobtrusively between some ugly lock-up garages, the railway, and an inspirational view of the grey wall of the local Lidl.  Here’s a picture I took just before people started to arrive, which doesn’t do it justice but gives a flavour:


You can’t see the wildlife pond behind me (which I helped to dig fifteen years ago), the free allotments at the railway end where locals grow and share every conceivable kind of vegetable, from runner beans to exotic Caribbean squashes; nor the kiddies’ swings, doll’s houses and slides which over the years have been – I was going to say ‘donated’, but that doesn’t capture the true spirit of the place – let’s just say ‘put there’, by local people (some of them probably long moved away), just because they wanted to.

The barbecue was a great success, of course, they always are: but that’s not what I really wanted to tell you.  This is uncanny.

When I’d arrived at about half-eleven to help with setting things up, there were already a few people who’d decided to have a family picnic and were doing their own setting-up further down the garden from where we’d installed our barbies and tables.  I went over and introduced myself, explained what we were up to and suggested they’d be welcome to come and join in, mingle and use some of the cooking heat.  The young man I spoke to told me they’d come to England last year, loved Reading, were settling in nicely but thought the streets were too dirty…  So they did all that – cooking, mingling, kids interacting –  over the next few hours, but I didn’t actually get to talk to any of them.  For some reason I’d assumed they were from Poland.

Anyway, as we were tidying up at about four o’clock, someone told me this extended family (there were over a dozen of them by now, spread over at least three generations) were in fact Italian.  As you may know, I never pass up an opportunity to practise my rusty (arruginito) Italian, so I went over again, and introduced myself again, rustily.

Naturally, I was asked how I’d learnt Italian (‘parli ancora molto bene!’), so I explained how I’d lived in Milan for three years in the late sixties, been in a band, etc etc.  (Here comes the uncanny bit.)

A lady at the far end of the table, who’d been listening with interest to the conversation but not saying anything, looked up.

“You lived in Milano?”  I nodded.  “Where did you live?”

“In a pensione, in Via Lamarmora, near the Duomo,” I told her.  Her mouth opened silently for a moment, then she said:

“I lived in Via Lamarmora before I came to England.”  I didn’t want to ask, and I didn’t have to.  “Number seventeen.”

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Mental graffiti

The other day, I was about to photograph and blog about the arcane runes that had been decorating the wall opposite me for some weeks, when someone inconsiderately came along and cleaned them off. 

I've been encouraged to go ahead and post anyway: an interesting challenge.

So, here's an artist's impression of what it might have looked like (names have been changed to protect the idiotic):


And here's the wall as it looks now (like the map of the ocean in The Hunting of the Snark, it may be a bit short on detail):


My gardener, who is full of facts, some of which might even be true, informs me that these scrawls are boundary demarcation lines agreed between teenage street gangs.  

I'm going away now to imagine the inter-gang Summit conference, and to ponder on the global geopolitical parallels, if any.   Also to get my supper.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Job Done

Right, I've finished writing it.  Well, it's only taken about five years - not full time, but at least a day a month on average.


It's called "This Obscure Group", subtitle "Dave Anthony's Moods - a personal memoir of the best unheard band of the Sixties."  I've put a few edited extracts on this blog before, but this is the final product.  Or at least as final as it's going to be.  I could go on tinkering for ever.


So I'd like it to be read, or at least available.  Does anyone know anything about publishing (vanity or otherwise)?  It's long enough - about 42,000 words - to form a slim volume, especially if padded out with a few photos. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

How often do you use drugs?


Or any kind of medication, for that matter?

About four weeks ago, on a lovely country walk, I got stung or bitten on the arm by some kind of insect.  I noticed something, but thought no more of it until the next day, when it had pumped itself up to visibly swollen, florid proportions.  Ah, antihistamine, I thought, and found a tube in my medicine chest.  It had been there for about two years, since the last time I got stung, and was just within its ‘use by’ date, but I didn’t trust it, so I nipped down the chemists, checked with the pharmacist that there weren’t any contra-indications with the warfarin, and got a new tube.  A couple of days’ worth of application did the trick.

So I now have an almost-full tube of antihistamine cream, with an expiry date  of June 2017.  It contains 25 grams, minus the one or two grams I used on the sting; and of course, having been opened, it’s probably going to go off more quickly.  So to get full value out of this purchase, I need to get bitten or stung about 24 times over the next twenty months or so.

I had the same problem today with Savlon, after a brief collision with the sharp end of the iron.  Luckily my current tube of this wonderful stuff is well within its date, but, again, I’m not planning to cut, burn or otherwise injure myself sufficiently to get to the bottom of the tube before it becomes unuseable.

You can’t buy this stuff in small enough quantities to avoid binning eighty percent of it.  (It’s like spices, about which I’ve blogged before, but much more important.)  No wonder big pharma makes the profits.

 

 

Don’t even start me on cancer treatments, anti-virals or immunisation.  They managed to roll out the Ebola vaccine in just twelve months – no mention yet of the impact on their bottom line.  It can be done.  They just need to be shamed into doing it.

 

Friday, 7 August 2015

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation?


This concept pops up every couple of years, in my mind and (at least once) in my blog.  Do I want to spend the rest of my life in this admittedly pleasant house in a not-so-pleasant town where I know a few people I rarely see and don’t get out much because there’s nowhere to get out to?  Answer, no.  So I really ought to relocate – but where?

I’d been talking to my brother about this, and he sympathised, but made a remark that has stuck in my mind: “Don’t leave it too long.”

He’s right.  Inertia is one of the most powerful forces in life, especially mine.  So I’m revisiting the topic with some focus.  There’s nothing binding me here, when I think about it.  On the other hand, there are few things pulling me in almost any other direction – which doesn’t exactly help.

Last time, I did it geographically.  Here’s the relevant bit of that post from 2012:

As this town (which I like, a bit, and which contains a lot of people whom I like, a lot, but all that’s been factored in to this blogdream) is slap bang in the middle of southern England, and given that I miss the sea and the coast, I only really have four options:  north, south, east or west.  North is out of the question.  South would mean going back to where I was born.  East is a foreign country.  So that leaves West.

West consists of Wales and the West Country.  I don’t want to live in Wales, for reasons too difficult to explain here.  So that leaves the West Country.  This consists of Devon and Cornwall.  Devon is tempting, but it’s too expensive.  So I’m left with Cornwall.

What was I thinking of?  There’s no way I’m going to Cornwall.  So that rules out West.

South probably means Bournemouth – um, not really.  I’m not going to spend my remaining years mobility-scooting up and down Southbourne Grove pining for the La Fiesta coffee bar.

I watch too many weather forecasts to consider going much further North than Shrewsbury.

I might have been a bit unfair on East, though – to be honest, with a few exceptions, in 2012 I knew hardly anything about East Angular, or its denizens.  Maybe I should go and take a closer look.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Five



  1. I got the Telecaster back and tried it out earlier this evening.  It looks and sounds lovely, but the wiring is wrong – the volume control doesn’t control the volume, which is a bit basic, isn’t it?  So I’m going to have to take it back, which is a bit annoying.  I’m fairly sure I know what he’s done wrong, and it’s easily put right, but you’d think he’d have tested it before handing it over, wouldn’t you?
  2. I noticed a minor infestation of tiny spiders in the bathroom just now.  God knows how they got there, because that’s one of the two rooms I’m fairly careful about keeping clean.  (Plus the kitchen, of course!)  I’ve killed them with bleach and spray, I think, but I’ll have to do a full inspection in the morning, before [fill in your own chosen activity here].
  3. I’ve also, I think, killed the ants out on the patio.  I know they’re supposed to be part of the ecological food chain, and blah blah, but they’ll just have to go and be ecological somewhere else.  I don’t want ants in my pa… tio.
  4. I’ve finished reading ‘Go Fetch a Watchman’ and Nick Hornby’s ‘Funny Girl’.  I know which one entertained me more.
  5. I’m thinking, yet again, about relocation.  There’s nothing to keep me here, except inertia.  I’ll probably blog again about this, if I can summon up the ertia.